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Commercial for the Sharp ELSI-8 (aka Sharp EL-8) calculator -the world's first battery operated portable calculator
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Colin Howell -
Subject: Not the "LC-8", but the "ELSI-8".
(Wow, the mistake I pointed out in the description was fixed quickly! Thanks!)
Because the calculator's name is only spoken in this ad, never shown, some copies of this video have gotten it wrong and call it the "LC-8" instead of the correct name ELSI-8. Sharp also used the ELSI-8 name in their print ads. (The official model name was EL-8.)
"ELSI" was Sharp's abbreviation for "Extra Large Scale Integration", which was their name for the integrated circuit technology used in the calculator. Of course, later advances in integrated circuits would make the expression look quaint, but Sharp's kept using the term ELSI, particularly in the name of their ELSIMATE calculator brand, which is still carried by their calculators to this day.
I wonder if some of the people shocked by this calculator's high price realize just how high that price really was? The ELSI-8 was released at the start of 1971; its $345 price would be equivalent to roughly $1,850 in 2010. Buying a hand-held calculator like this at that time was rather like buying a high-end laptop computer now. These were cutting-edge devices using the latest integrated circuit technology--a long way from the ho-hum commodity status that pocket calculators hold today.
Subject: HOW MUCH????????
This calculator is HOW MUCH?! Yikes! EEEEEEEEE! I screamed when I saw that price. Damn!
Subject: Good Commercial
I'm sure that when this commercial was new, The product shown helped made many peoples lives easier. So, Good Product, Good Commercial.
Jeeper One -
Subject: Portable Color TVs Are The Size Of This Calculator.
Yes Virginia, we HAVE come a long way.
Subject: I didn't know this was an ATM dispenser too!
A quick trip to the Inflation calculator reveals that the Calculator's price, if adjusted to 2003 inflation levels, would cost 1174.82.
After all, wouldn't you want to spend that money on an oversized, bulky sloppy LCD display??
Curiously, one shot shows the calculator spitting out a dollar bill. Didn't know they had ATM's in those days.. Portable ones too!
Subject: The Price is Right, Pt.2
What's interesting is that with the price of this calculator, released in 1970, using the flourscent numerical displays (LED's/LCD's weren't invented yet) being priced this high, color TV's were just about the same price. Now, let's advance up 34 years, and this same calculator would only cost pocket change, yet the color TV's are STILL at this same price (only with bigger screens). Great little ad though to get society "wet nursed" into electronic gadgetry.
Wilford B. Wolf -
Circa 1970 commercial for the Sharp LC-8, the first of the handheld calculators. Great close up shots of the early LED display (with its curious rounded sides, as opposed the more standard straight edged LCD we are used to today), keypad and relative size. It is hard to remember in this day and age that calculators in 1970 were only about 10 years or so removed from filling an entire room, or were an unweildly mechanical contraption. It was also really the first computerized device most people had contact with, though the notion of a calculator as a computer is no longer made.
Nowdays, you can get a device at half the size and half the price that play music, keep track of phone numbers, play games and whatever besides adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying numbers. We've come a long way...